On the record, everyone tries to keep a brave face. Basically every last person involved in the new Collective Bargaining Association talks say that a lockout can be avoided. They then say that will happen when the other side caves to their demands. But on the record they hold out hope.
Off the record, nobody is optimistic about avoiding a lockout. In fact, plenty will say its inevitable. There are some hardline owners who want a radical change in the economics, the players say that it is more about the owners sharing revenue and not the contract system, and they will not be easily moved.
So it was a refreshing bit of honesty to read what Carmelo Anthony told Sports Illustrated and its senior NBA writer Ian Thompson:
“I’ve been sitting in meetings with the owners and seeing what is their problem with everything,” he said. “I’ve been in several of the meetings to know what the problem is and what’s going on. It’s going to take some time to get the owners and the players on the same page.”
Is there going to be a lockout?
“Oh, without a doubt,” he said. “Without a doubt.”
So that’s another reason to sign the extension now, I said.
Come July 1 you can bet there is a lockout. That’s not the real drop-dead date though. For most fans, if there is a lockout in July that gets solved in August so that training camps open on time and no games are missed, all will be forgotten and forgiven. If games are missed — especially in this economy — fans will not be forgiving and the impact on ticket sales and the NBA’s popularity will linger for years. Both sides know this, but both are digging in their heals. It could get ugly.
But a lockout is coming. Without a doubt.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.